Specially made tripod adapters now make it easier to get the most out of your iPhone's camera.

As the camera and video capabilities of the iPhone get better and better, we’re seeing more and more photographers and even professional filmmakers finding ways to use their phones to capture incredible images. While there are plenty of apps like Camera+ and Darkroom that use the iPhone’s motion sensors to snap your photo when the camera is being held as still as possible, sometimes there is simply no replacement for a good tripod.¬†With a traditional camera, that’s never a problem since most cameras include a threaded socket on the bottom to attach it directly to a tripod. Obviously on an iPhone, that’s not possible.

Until now, I’ve seen many creative solutions for mounting the iPhone to a tripod. Some solutions are as simple and low budget as a few rubber bands. More sophisticated approaches involved adapting clamp style dash mounts for cell phones or GPS units so that they would work with a tripod. I considered adapting a dash mount myself, but between the high cost of most dash mounts and the question of whether or not the hardware would work with a tripod it just never seemed worth the gamble.

Third party manufacturers have finally caught on and suddenly there are tons of purpose built iPhone Tripod Adapters available online. One example is this nicely made Universal Bracket Adapter I purchased on eBay from the seller mango.digiworld. For only $6.50 and free shipping, I was surprised at just how nice it is. The construction is fairly solid – nice hard plastic that does not feel like it will break easily. The threaded hole where it mounts on the tripod appears to be metal so it’s not likely to strip. The inside of the clamp has thin strips of hard foam padding to protect your phone and hold it more securely. The bottom arm of the clamp slides out for adjustability and the arm that wraps around the top of the phone is spring loaded to clamp down.

This spring loaded arm is the only part of the adapter that has concerned me so far. Right out of the box the top clamp barely opened enough to allow either an iPhone 4 or iPhone 3GS. After the first few times in and out of the clamp, the spring seems to have popped a bit. It is easier to place a phone in the adapter now and the clamp still holds tightly, but the clamp no longer closes all the way down when there is no phone inside.

Update: I was right to be concerned about the spring. A few more pulls and it detached completely. I opened the housing and found that the spring had stretched too far and simply came unhooked on one end. I should be able to fix it easily, but definitely a weak point in the design.

Incidentally, shipping with this eBay seller was very quick. The part arrived in less than a week and it came all the way from Singapore.

Bottom line is that for $6.50, an adapter like this is a great buy. It’s definitely going to allow for better photos here and better videos on Big-Geek’s YouTube Channel.